Notes on the Fiction Selections

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December 22, 2022 by The Citron Review

My boys and I are currently reading Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier. The series centers on the end of the world brought forth by a zombie and monster invasion. It is incredibly funny, and we laugh so much while reading it. But, like most great literature, we have some wonderful teachable moments, too. Jack Sullivan is a boy who grew up in foster care and has created the family that he has always wanted with his best friends. We’re reading a part now where the family has the possibility of finding their parents, or at least connecting with other survivors of the invasion. Jack doesn’t want this to happen because for him, he has everything he has always wanted. His reluctance to reunite with others was a hard concept for my youngest to grasp.  

Our Winter Issue flash selections also explore that kind of complexity in relationships. “Everything You Loved is Here, When Are You Coming Home” by Timothy Boudreau is a heartbreaking look at a mother’s grief after her daughter’s passing. It’s raw and honest. These characters have felt the sting of death and absence, but also of the journey to get there. 

“Deep” by Chloe Yelena Miller also tells of death, but this time of a high school friend. The news sends the narrator into the past to relive their friendship and understand her future. Miller’s diction helps set the tone with repetition and simpler images that carry the weight of the heavier subject. It feels very universal to hear of someone we used to know passing, and Miller takes us through that grief in a realistic way.

“The House Across the Street” by Sacha Bissonnette asks us to consider whether or not bad things are happening over there among the neighbors. Our obsession with what’s over the fence or through those curtains consumes our characters in unexpected, even transformative ways. Will our voyeuristic nature always win? 

“Mirror Face” by Kim Magowan navigates a mother’s broken relationship with one of her daughters. The scope of brokenness is real including both the daughter who does not talk to the mother and the daughter who does. Set against the backdrop of a holiday, it feels like workplace gossip that you cannot turn away from because you want to hear how it all plays out.  


Elizabeth De Arcos
Fiction Editor
The Citron Review


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